OK admit it, you’ve entered your name in Google to see what comes up.

Guess what?  An increasing number of employers are doing the same to your name when they receive your application.

A recent survey of American recruiters revealed that 70% of them have rejected a candidate as a result of what they’re found out about them online.

This makes your online presence even more important as it can either help you get a job or butcher your application.

What do you need to think about to assist (and not hold back) your career?

LinkedIn.  Also known as Facebook for professionals, LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly important networking and recruitment tool.  It started in late 2002 and now has over 175 million members.  That’s quite a network.

If you’re a professional, I would strongly recommend that you need to start a LinkedIn account.  If you haven’t heard of it yet, chances are you will soon and if you’re not connected, you will automatically be giving your competition an advantage.

LinkedIn can be used to build a network, post your resume and career achievements and to research potential employers.

Remember, building a network takes time, so don’t wait until you’re in the market for a job before setting up an account, by then it’s probably too late to give you all of the benefits.  Start today.

Photos.  Online photos of you will very rarely help you to get a job (at least a reputable one), but they can stop you from getting one.  Those photos of you on Facebook at last year’s Christmas party may have seemed funny to you and your friends at the time, but to a potential future employer they may set off alarm bells.

If you think that any online photos are secure and can only be seen by your friends and family, think again.  Some people can be very resourceful when it comes to finding information on the internet, so assume that someone will find your pictures and make sure that there’s nothing there that you wouldn’t want a potential future employer to see.

Personal Blog.  What better example of your communication skills and expertise than to start you own blog?  It’s best to make sure that it’s reasonably professional, but other than that, what you write about is up to you.

For me personally, as someone who writes about personal development, motivation, careers and other related topics this blog is what I want people to see when they google my name.  If potential future employers see this site, I hope that they like what they read and that the work that has gone into this blog will give me an advantage over others.

A blog is a unique opportunity for you to put your passion and knowledge out there for others to discover, which can be extremely beneficial from a career perspective.

The next time you are struck by a moment of vanity and google your name, look at it from an employer’s perspective.

Does your online presence help or hinder, or is it neutral?

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